Why is Russia targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine?
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, there have been reports of civilian casualties. The Russian media designated them as collateral damages. Indeed, it can happen that mistakes are done during a military operation and that civilians die as a result.
However, it appears that damages to civilians occur on a regular basis and that the destroyed infrastructure is specifically that which has strategic value. Also, infrastructure which is psychologically sensible is regularly destroyed. Therefore, it seems we are witnessing targeted destruction of civilian infrastructure by the Russian forces.
What kind of infrastructure is targeted?
All essential infrastructures have been damaged in some manner by the Russian forces recently. This includes water, electricity, gas and food. For example, May 24, missile strikes and artillery shelling have been conducted in the Zaporizhia Oblast, destroying the electricity pylons on which 22,000 people depend. The Russian forces additionally damaged the gas pipeline supplying gas to 100,000 people in the Luhansk and Zaporizhia Oblast. May 28, the strikes were conducted a second time in the Zaporizhia Oblast. This caused damage to power lines and left more than 2,700 people without electricity in the Polohy and Orihiv regions. In the Vasylivka, Hulyaypole and Orihiv settlements, the gas transmission system were damaged while the Stepnohirsk water system was damaged. On the same day, a local fire-fighting department and agricultural facilities were destroyed.
The below pictures show that the Russian forces could not ignore that the infrastructure was of civilian nature.
In another article, I analyzed the looting in Ukraine and how Russia is exporting wheat illegally to starve the population and thus destabilize the country and support its allies, such as Syria.
Destabilization can also be done by attacking targets of psychological value. Schools are a good example. By making parents fear for their children, a foreign force can annihilate their will to fight for their country. This policy of targeting children is so developed and sophisticated that I will dedicate an article on this specific issue.
Why is civilian infrastructure attacked?
By attacking civilians, Russia is showing its determination. The implicit message is that it does not care about international rules such as the Geneva Conventions, which it is part to, and which prohibits attacks against civilian objects. Thus, Russia displays that it can harm the population and is ready to go way further if locals try to resist. Russia wants people to be convinced that it is better to surrender than to continue fighting, as this will only lead to further suffering.